J-K floods: When waters rose, Muslims in Srinagar rescued Pandits

  • Sukhdeep Kaur, Hindustan Times, Wazirbagh (Srinagar)
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2014 09:13 IST

Wazirbagh has a temple and a gurdwara. Though many Kashmiri Pandit families have left the area, 10 to 12 families still live here and its adjoining areas. There are several Sikh families too whose garments and hardware shops now lie submerged in water.

When flood waters were rising by a few feet every hour, the family of a Kashmiri Pandit, Ashok ji, as neighbours call him, was among the first to be rescued by Sohail Tabrez and Akil, the Muslims of the locality.

“Ashok ji had saved young Akil when there was a theft in his house. We went to the Pandit families here and asked them to leave their homes. The Sikh families too were rescued by army and locals,” says Sohail Tabrez.

Read: J-K floods: There was no sign of govt during the deluge

The sprawling three-storied house of Ashok ji is being looked after by Shariq Mughal and Akil, both teenagers, who along with their friends take over a dozen trips a day on a boat taken from the army by depositing their identity cards.

When they reach the submerged Kalgi Dhar gurdwara in neighbouring locality, they call out to Inderjit Singh, the gurdwara’s old caretaker to take his supplies of the day.

Also getting their daily milk and food from the boat are Akil’s pet cats, Angrez and Rangrez, besides some pet dogs in Burzbagh. The few locals and migrant workers who continue to live on the top floors or rooftops of eateries and homes too call out for water and food.

Read: Kashmir floods: Sailing to safety on ‘Jugaad’s Ark’

The Pandit family owning the Natraj medical shop on the corner of road leading to Lal Mandi Chowk has long left but it is still called Natraj gali. “We had requested Bhabhijaan to stay but the family left. Inderjit, the gurdwara’s caretaker only has Muslim friends,” said Tabrez whose throat has gone hoarse asking people to stand in a queue to be ferried on boat. “I will have to again take medicine from Tinni,” he says referring to the young Sikh homeopathic doctor of the locality.

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